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Mind you, I’m skeptical whether an addict, who is not encouraged to seek treatment, would be able to keep their housing.
Despite all the talk about mental health and psychiatric supports during the more than three hours of consultations, I didn’t hear one word about rehabilitation.
Hopkins said the first site — which has been operating since Dec. 21 — is at the Bond Hotel shelter because it was perceived to have an “urgent public health need.”
David Reycraft, Dixon Hall’s director of housing services which runs the Bond Hotel, said the site was chosen because there are a “significant number of active drug users” situated there.
Hopkins added that a UPHN site takes mere weeks to be approved by Health Canada and no consultation is required to put it in place.
Some $7.6-million has been committed by Toronto’s shelter, support and housing administration to these urgent sites with the hope the city will recoup the costs from the senior levels of government under COVID funding arrangements.
This is in addition to the nine community sites, already available mostly in the downtown core — four within a nine-minute walk of the Bond hotel. One close by is The Works.
Hopkins, who is also running the Bond Hotel site, told one consultation session that during COVID they had to reduce the hours and number of booths at The Works from six to two. Before COVID, they’d see up to 150 addicts a day; that’s now reduced to 40-50 per day.
“We’re seeing a lot of overdoses,” she said. “We need to support services that existed pre-COVID.”